Hot Meals in a Hurry – 10# of Beef into 8 Quick Meals

This time of year is bustling with things to do and sometimes I feel like our budget is hemorrhaging nickels and dimes. It’s cold outside and a hot meal at the end of a long day always sounds nice. Get dinner to the table in a hurry with these quick fix meals. All of the recipes below freeze well, so you could even have one prep day that lasts for a couple of weeks. They all call for ground meat, so give your feet and your wallet a break. You can often find ground beef or turkey in value size packs and break it up for several meals. Or, if you just picked up deer from the processor, venison works great too!
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Tex-Mex Beef Enchiladas
adapted sauce portion from http://www.recipegirl.com/2006/05/01/enchilada-sauce/
Gather:
12-16 tortillas, your preference
1 ½# ground meat
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoon chili powder*
2 teaspoon salt*
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garlic powder*
1 teaspoon ground cumin*
1/3 cup beef broth
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoon chili powder*
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin*
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder*
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
½ teaspoon salt*
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
Sharp cheddar cheese, grated

* split – used for meat filling and for sauce

To Prepare:
Brown meat with onion and spices. Add beef broth and simmer about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make sauce. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; whisk in flour and chili powder to make a roux. Cook while whisking until lightly browned. Gradually whisk in tomato sauce, broth, cumin, garlic powder, onion salt, salt, and oregano. Stir until smooth, and continue simmering over medium heat about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Roll enchiladas, top with sauce. Cover in plastic wrap, then foil and freeze OR top with cheese, cover in foil and bake 30-45 minutes at 350 until bubbly. Remove foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted. If frozen, thaw in fridge overnight, then bake as usual.

Sloppy Joes
adapted from http://realmomkitchen.com/99/moms-sloppy-joes/
Gather:
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 # ground meat
Salt and pepper, to taste
15 oz can tomato sauce
2 teaspoon chili powder
2 Tablespoons vinegar
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
4 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ teaspoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
* if I wasn’t cooking for man! I would add in a little mustard too

To Prepare:
Sweat onions and garlic over medium low in a skillet. Add ground meat, salt & pepper, and brown; drain. Add all remaining ingredients to ground meat and simmer on low for twenty minutes. Serve on buns or as sliders on rolls.

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Quick & Dirty Rice
Gather:
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 sweet bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1# ground beef
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2# bulk pork sausage
2c low sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1 bay leaf
1 whirl of the pan Worcestershire sauce
4-6 good shakes hot sauce
1c long grain white rice

To Prepare:
In a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir in the onion, green and sweet peppers, and garlic. Cook over medium heat 5-10 minutes until softened. Scoot veggies around outside of pan and add ground beef, salt, seasoned salt, and pepper to center. Cook and stir until the beef is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink. Drain and discard any excess grease. Scoot the meat/veggie mixture to the edge of pan and add sausage to center. Cook until browned and crumbly. Stir in the chicken broth, sage, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and rice. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, and the liquid has been absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes.

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Freeze Ahead Supreme Pizza Pasta
adapted from http://www.savingyoudinero.com/2012/09/17/part-3-1-hour-1-mess-5-crock-pot-meals/- Spaghetti Casserole
This has been a hit with the kids. I found it as a crockpot meal, and tweaked it a little, but hours & hours seemed like overkill. You can thaw and heat on the stove for a quick to the table dinner – it needs just long enough for flavors to meld.

Makes 2 quart bags w/ little leftovers
Gather:
1 ½ # ground meat (maybe split between sausage & ground beef)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes or sauce
2 Tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cracked pepper
12 oz spaghetti or other pasta – I used spiral (would use a little less pasta, ½ box)
2 cups shredded cheese (I used Mexican mix)
1 sleeve pepperoni (chop and add at end)
1 small can sliced black olives (added last 30 min)
1 handful green olives (added last 30 min)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (added last 30 min)
6 Tablespoons of parmesan cheese (added last 30 min)

To Prepare:
Brown ground meat. Drain and cool completely. Add it to the freezer bag with the green pepper, onion, celery, garlic cloves, tomatoes, chili pepper, salt, and pepper. Lay flat & freeze. Label Bag. Trust me, if you don’t you forget and it becomes unidentifiable frozen food.
Just thaw & heat! The last 30 minutes, add olives, oregano and parmesan. When it’s almost done, cook pasta according to package and drain. Add cooked pasta, 1 cup of cheese and pepperoni to the dish and mix well. Add more cheese to the top and serve!

Hopefully this will get you going. Feel free to supercharge any of the above recipes by adding in shredded carrot, zucchini, or spinach.
We all could use the nutrient power punch extra veggies lend a dish, not to mention the fabulous fiber. I also try to stock the freezer with browned meat for tacos, toquitos, pizza topping, or meat sauce that will come together quickly. Try pre-portioning out hamburger patties and freezing those to have on hand. Lasagna and meatloaf can also pull double duty. The next time you make one, make an extra and freeze it!

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